Halton Woman Receives Venerable Order of St John

Sister Joy Rickcord, Senior Civilian Nurse at RAF Halton’s Regional Medical Centre (RMC), has been admitted to the Venerable Order of St John in recognition of her long term service to the Station in the field of Health Governance. Joy’s appointment as a serving sister was sanctioned by the Queen and she received the medal from Prior Rodney Green in a ceremony in Clerkenwell.

The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, also referred to as the Order of St John and St John International, is a Royal Order of Chivalry established in 1831, incorporated in 1888, and found today throughout the Commonwealth of Nations, Hong Kong, Ireland and the United States of America. It has a world-wide mission ‘to prevent and relieve sickness and injury, and to act to enhance the health and well-being of people anywhere in the world’.

Joy was born in Princes Risborough and went to the Grange School in Aylesbury. She qualified as a nurse at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in August 1976 and has been a Primary Care Practice Nurse for almost 27 years, the first 16 years in civilian GP practices and the past 11 years at RAF Halton. She has three children, one of them a GP in Australia, and her parents live locally in Stoke Mandeville and Aylesbury. Her father, Roger Priest, was awarded an MBE in 2006 for his services to the local community.

Joy said: “I received a letter from the Priory of St John in January 2014 informing me that I had received the award. My initial reaction was one of surprise. It took a while for it to ‘sink in’ but I am absolutely delighted and very proud to be the recipient of such an honour. My daughter, Louise, attended the investiture ceremony with me which was held at the Priory Church Clerkenwell on 21 Oct 14, where I was presented with the award by the Prior Rodney Green. I work full time at the RMC RAF Halton and was the Healthcare Governance Lead at the RMC for six years which was both challenging and rewarding. I am now enjoying being fully involved in the nursing department once again. When not at work I try to help with my grandson and support my parents. My hobbies include crafts, walking, opera, weekends’ away and spending time with family and friends”.

Joy is engaged to be married to Wing Commander Raj Vaikunthanathan, a medical officer at RAF Halton.